|The Media Center|
|Compiling a Profile of Staff Technology Skills|
|by Mary Alice Anderson • Lead Media Specialist, Winona Middle School, Winona, Minnesota|
|MultiMedia Schools • January/February 2002|
our staff participated in a paper/pencil self-assessment of their technology
skills. That assessment, the need for assessment, and other assessment
tools were my "Media Center" topic in November/December 2000. In this month's
column, I address how we implemented a follow-up assessment using Profiler,
an online collaboration tool. We accessed Profiler at the High Plains Regional
Technology in Education Consortium, one of 10 such consortiums funded by
the U.S. Department of Education. Profiler is found at http://profiler.hprtec.org.
There is no cost to use the instrument.
The Need for
The district will conduct a follow-up assessment of staff technology competencies. This assessment will provide data that will be an addition to the baseline data collected in December 1997. The assessment will assess staff skills and use of technology as a tool for teaching.
I registered our district to create an account and district ID. A subcommittee of the technology committee, which included a school board member, a principal, and our curriculum director, sampled the 30-question Profiler Basic Skills Checklist survey (see Figure 1 below). The checklist can be used by anyone who logs onto the site. We also asked media staff and a core group of technology-using teachers to take the survey and provide input. Everyone thought the survey was both easy to use and an "eye-opener."
Our next step was to develop our own survey. We used some questions from the Profiler Basic Skills survey, edited others to better assess our district's capabilities, deleted some questions, and added some of our own for a total of 40 questions, the maximum allowed. We also looked at other surveys in the Profiler Survey Libraryand reused some questions from our district's 1997 survey. Our final 40 questions are represented by six categories.
Use District and State provided Databases (World Book, Grolier's Media Center Catalogs, Gale Junior Reference ProQuest, and InfoTrac Newspapers) to research topics using keywords, search directories, and Boolean logic.Survey participants rank their abilities on a scale of 1-4. To view all of the Winona Basic Skills Checklist questions, log on to Profiler and search for Winona in the survey library.
Support staff at the High Plains Regional Technology Consortium placed our survey online and created an account for each of the schools in our district. We established multiple categories for each building:
We thought it would be best if teachers took the survey in their own building and under the direction of building colleagues. Our staff development director funded a 2-hour meeting for building representatives prior to the fall workshop. They learned how to log in to Profiler, create an account, and take the survey. They also became familiar with the district technology plan's requirements for assessment and a personal growth plan. Several administrators took the survey when I met with them. They all had comments such as, "I guess I need to take more classes," or, "I have a lot to learn."
Because Profiler is a collaboration tool, others can view an individual's results, unless the individual elects not to share them. Profiler also displays a list of "Experts" for each question. Experts are participants who rank themselves as fluent when completing the survey. Sharing results and the list of experts are both intended to establish learning communities and teams that will work with each other. We offered staff the option of not sharing results, but encouraged them to share.
completion went better than I expected; a few people had difficulty logging
in and completing an account, but most completed it within 15 minutes.
Secondary staff took the survey during the opening day workshop; elementary
staff took the surveys in their classrooms or building labs during September.
Over 90 percent of the teaching staff completed the survey by the end of
September, the designated time for completion. The process promoted good
discussion and questions as participants received immediate feedback and
viewed individual scores. The power of motivation exists in what you should
know. Typical comments were, "I'm excited," or, "Now I know what I need
to know and do." I didn't hear the grumbling that I had expected.
and District Data
Next Step: Personal
The plan is not intended as part of teacher evaluation, however, a principal may discuss your plan with you to encourage you to improve your technology skills. Staff who would like assistance in developing a personal growth plan can receive assistance from their principal, a co-worker, and members of the district technology committee.While our district technology plan asks all teachers to complete a personal growth plan, it may be more realistic to set a less extensive goal the first year and work towards 100 percent completion of a personal growth plan within 2 to 3 years.
In order for our plans to be successful we are encouraging:
Mary Alice Anderson is a frequent contributor to professional journals, a conference presenter, and an adjunct instructor in the College of Education at Winona State University. The Winona Middle School Media/Technology Program has received both state and national recognition and awards. She is also the lead media specialist for the Winona Area Public Schools and was a Library of Congress American Memory Fellow in 1999. Communications to the author may be addressed to Mary Alice Anderson, Media Specialist, Winona Middle School, 1570 Homer Road, Winona, MN 55987; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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